With the VAFA Women’s home and away season concluding and finals well and truly underway, the list of Anytime Fitness Rising Star nominees has been finalised.

Scotch Stars Erin White received her nomination in Round 3 after playing a leading hand for the grand finalists in their 61-point win over Williamstown CYMS. She has played eight games and been named in the best three times.

10 women’s players are in the running to take out the award, before that list is whittled down to five finalists next month. Introduced in the first year of VAFA Women’s in 2017, the three previous winners include Sarah Cameron (SKOB Saints), Laura Robertson (Marcellin) and Madi Capsalis (Old Mentonians).

Erin White

Nominees in 2021 are:

Round 1: Madeleine Di Cosmo (Marcellin)

The first nominee for the season, Di Cosmo has gone from strength to strength in the Eagles’ backline and been named in the minor premiers’ best players eight times – more than any other Marcellin player.

What the club said: Madeleine is a hard-working player with good skills who excels around the contest. She plays like Dustin Martin and former Eagle Ellie Gavalas.


Round 2: Zoe Barbakos (Beaumaris)

Barbakos was named the Round 2 nominee after booting three goals in the Sharks’ 22-point over Yarra Old Grammarians. She came third in the Premier B goal kicking with 13 majors and has been named in the best five times.

What the club said: Her speed, athleticism and toughness have her teammates and coaches in awe. She plays like Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Britt Bonnici.


Round 3: Erin White (Scotch Stars)

White received her nomination after playing a leading hand for the grand finalists in their 61-point win over Williamstown CYMS. She has played eight games and been named in the best three times.

What the club said: Being the tallest player on the team, Erin’s strengths are her height and ruck craft. She plays like Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy, taking inspiration from their rucking style.


Round 4: Eve Sheehan (MUWFC)

The Melbourne Uni WFC livewire was nominated following her BOG performance – which included three goals – against Fitzroy-ACU. She’s played nine games, kicked six goals and been named in the best five times behind only Lucy Watkin on six.

What the club said: This is Eve’s first season of senior footy after coming through our juniors. We love her in our side but hopefully she’ll end up on a VFLW list next year so we’ll enjoy her while we can! Has a bit of Prespakis about her but hopefully she doesn’t read this and get a big head.


Round 5: Marguerite Purcell (Caulfield Grammarians)

Purcell received her nomination following Caulfield’s 26-point win over Old Xavs. She’s played 11 games and been named in the best four times for the William Buck Premier Women’s finalists.

What the club said: Margie has been one of the many shining lights for CGFC this year, with her fierce work in the contest and a never-give-up attitude in defence, she compliments her desperate defensive efforts with her incredible pace and drive off the half-back line – echoing many similarities to the GWS Giant’s Elle Bennetts or Geelong’s Tom Stewart.


Round 6: Rachel Ware (Ivanhoe AFC)

Ware’s nomination came off the back of a dominant BOG performances for the Ivies as they defeated North Brunswick by 13 points in Round 6. She managed just the six games but was named in the best three times.

What the club said: Rachel began playing football at a young age and has just returned for her first season after two years off. She is renowned for her incredible running ability and plays like Anthony ‘Tippa’ McDonald-Tipungwuti.


Round 7: Keely James (St Mary’s Salesian)

Keely James was nominated following her standout performance for the Saints in their tight R7 loss to Old Trinity. Despite the Saints winning just one game for the season, James was a shining light in her eight games and named in the best five times.

What the club said: As a midfielder, Keely’s strength and hardness around the ball and her ability to shut players out are outstanding. She plays the game in the mould of a Bri Davey, Erin Phillips or Kiara Bowers.


Round 10: Carla Barics (Aquinas)

It’s been an amazing year so far for the Premier C grand finalists, capped off with Baric’s nomination in Round 10. Barics has played all 11 games and been named in the best an equal team high six times.

What the club said: Her intercept marking in the backline and attack on the footy is like Brisbane Lions CHB Kate Lutkins and add her exceptional foot skills as well she resembles Tom Stewart from Geelong.


Round 11: Caley Ryan (Beaumaris)

The second Shark to be nominated this year, Ryan received her plaudits when she was named BOG for a third time in their thrilling four-point win over Old Camberwell. She has been named in the best a whopping seven times from her 10 games.

What the club said: Caley is renowned for being loud and proud around the club. Before games on a Saturday, if you can’t hear her singing high school musical at the top of her lungs during a warm-up, she probably hasn’t arrived yet.


Round 12: Bianca Keogh (Marcellin)

Keogh was the final nominee of the season on the back of her instrumental performance in the Eagles’ 56-point win over Old Trinity. She’s played nine games for the grand finalist for four TIB.

What the club said: She has very clean hands, great vision and is a tough all-round competitor. Around the club, Bianca is known for being a great teammate and a very hard worker at both training and on game day.”


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